Today marks two weeks in our new home and even though it’s our dream home (or will be), we’ve experienced lots of feelings of homesickness. I’ve felt some guilt and emotions around those feelings, but quickly realized we built a life and a routine somewhere else and getting settled in and becoming familiar with our new home will just take time.
I believe there are a few things to do to stop feeling like a stranger in a new place even faster. I jotted down this list of things to do in our new home (@victoriabradleystudio illustrated it for me) to overcome some of those feelings and it has worked so well!
Make a meal After weeks of takeout, it felt so good and familiar to have a home-cooked meal
Set up your bedroom After a long day in a disheveled chaotic house, it was comforting to climb into our bed.
Turn on a lamp Even if a room isn’t perfect (or anywhere near it), a glowy light will warm it right up and somehow make an echo-y room feel intimate.
Take a walk around your neighborhood to get to know your new surroundings and find beauty in them.
Make a new memory. Soon your bank will be full of them, but you have to start somewhere. Plan an activity. Start a new tradition. We took pictures on the girls on our new fence for Father’s day and it felt like an instant tradition!
Put flowers on the table to make you smile throughout the day.
Hang some art Art carries so much personality with it, so even if the walls aren’t the color you plan on, hanging art is making your mark!
Organize your toiletries Do. not. live. out. of. your. toiletry. bag.
Invite a friend over. Having our friends in our new house helped us feel settled immensely! If this isn’t possible, try inviting a new neighbor over!
Make plans for your new house. During our lowest points, we brainstormed ideas for our new house. How we’re going to make it our own and that excitement cheered us right up.
The only thing left on my list is hang some art–off to it! Anything you would add?
I’d like to add do the same activities you did in your old house. Ie movie night, game night, bake cookies, etc. Whatever activity you did as a family.
These are all great suggestions, but I’ve wanted to ask. Do you think a big part of your homesickness you’ve been feeling is that most of your belongings were sold with your previous house? It’s one thing to go into a new home with everything you own–things look awkward, but they still function, and they still cary some semblance of your previous “normal.” But it’s something else entirely to hodge podge together what little you have left, because you sold the rest with your previous home. I have to imagine that Polly’s room is the most “homey” feeling, since you took nearly all (or all?) of it with you?
We’ve been in our new house almost 2 weeks as well. Our oldest (12) got off the bus in tears the last day of school (broke my heart), we moved the next day. The new house is great we have a lot more space,inside and out, but it is hard. A lot of the things you’ve mentioned have helped us. Going from an urban to suburban setting, the kids have really enjoyed ridding their bikes all around the neighborhood. Our oldest told a friend she was so happy we’re able to cook again “I hate fast food”. Parenting win! I thought that would have been the kids favorite part, maybe her brothers would disagree. :) I can’t wait to see how you transform your new space. Sending good vibes from KY!
Thanks for being honest about this process – really helpful.
With my first major move, I decided to buy a new, bigger, bed, leaving the old one behind. I thought this made sense. But, I found I didn’t sleep well. My sheets were all new, I couldn’t find the sweet spot to fall asleep. It took forever for my new bed to feel like my bed. Routines helped. Regular bedtime and wake up. My morning cup of tea. Wearing all my favorite comfy clothes helped. My threadbare pajamas! Try to change as few things as possible. For Willow, I would recommend you get her into her new routine as quickly as possible. The familiar is comforting.
My most recent move was to a town I’d never been to. It’s a big town, one hundred square miles. Everyday I would drive around, randomly turning down different roads, exploring new neighborhoods, stopping at different cafes, until I felt like I knew the place. Well, enough to feel comfortable. I still am finding spots I never noticed. So fun.
Our first move was when our oldest was just about to turn 5 and when I asked her what would make her feel at home, she replied: ‘Art on the walls’! it’s so hard to move, but these are great ideas and easy to do when things are so busy and chaotic.
Great ideas, thank you. I have made 5 long distance moves in my adult life. I find that it is extremely helpful to join the local library as soon as you get to your new place. Besides the obvious benefits of books, libraries have tons of helpful resources such adult coffee groups and classes, children’s story hours, book clubs, museum and zoo passes – all of which can help to meet people and get to know the area. I also find a place to work out; a Y, local gym, or even walking trails. I also spend time just walking around the neighborhood; it’s a good way to casually meet neighbors. Then, find your closest coffee shop, grocery store, and public park. If you are moving in the summer with kids, find the playgrounds at or near their future schools; you might meet other kids and parents that way. Also sign the kids up for summer camp and/or summer sports leagues at a place near (or recommended by their school). Again, you are all likely to meet kids and families this way. Moving is hard; I am doing it again this summer. Good luck to anyone who is also moving soon. You can do it!
Agree! To the smell (favorite candle, an hours long cooked tomato sauce on the stove), to the sound (playlists, dance party!) and to painting the walls a color YOU choose and not the previous owner.
But the most important step to feel home: finding the way from your bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night without your eyes fully opened and without 100% brain function – that’s it!!!! That’s when you know you’re home! Right? Or am I weird?
The hanging art thing is HUGE. We had someone give us the advice to live in your space for six months before hanging art. I made it a whole 4 days and had to get my things up on the walls. Their advice came from a place of helping yourself adjust to the new place and time to know exactly where you wanted everything. You may have had a piece that has always hung in your bedroom but not works better in an office or family room, and that living in a blank slate will help you re-envision your art in the new place. Well, I have no problem moving art around and changing things up so I just went for it and got stuff on the walls.
Also, 100% agree with having friends over and also making a meal, you can also add bake cookies it builds memories and helps your house smell like home.
All of the above helped me transition onto my new rental after my husband and I separated this January. A different situation. We left for safety reasons. It was quick and sudden. I mourn my home (and so much more). I think for me, creating rituals in a new home has been huge. The rituals look different in this home than they did in the previous one. Putting the house to bed feels different here, closing the blinds, turning off the lights, turning on the diffusers. But these rituals make this feel more like home.
I felt this same way when we moved houses. Our old house was beautiful and “done” – I was so proud to have buyers comment on how they wanted to live there. Our new house was large enough for our growing family but so outdated. It gave me the blues for a little while thinking “What did we do? Why would we leave such a beautiful place?” but it also was so exciting to plan a new space and see how we could make it even better than our old home. Two years in and it finally feels like us. No regrets, it was the best move we could have made for our family. I can’t wait to see how you put your stamp on the new place! It’s got great bones and I look forward to all the CLJ inspo!
Do a family activity like movie night w popcorn or make cookies together. Something that says this is ours.
I’m going to be saving these tips for the end of the year when we move from Pennsylvania to Arizona to begin retirement! Talk about making adjustments!! I would also include the things you can do outside your house that’ll make you feel more “at home.” Find a grocery store that you like and feel most comfortable in. Locate your local post office/fed ex/ups. Find the store where you buy your household goods. My husband is a civilian Army employee, and we’ve had to relocate every 3-5 years—that also included staying somewhere like the Residence Inn for three months!
It must be hard to feel home in your new home even if you do love your new home, you had a beautiful home before.
Maybe my thing is a bit weird as I haven’t read in another comment.. but a new home doesn’t feel like my home to me if it doesn’t smell like my home.. After a good clean, I usually buy fresh flowers, a nice candle, fresh herbs in my kitchen, lots of fresh fruit & start baking or cooking our favourite meals (I made lemon curd when we moved in this house as we all love that smell & we love eating lemon curd too!)
whatever sent it is that makes you feel home (coffee/BBQ/pizza…)
You’ll start to feel home soon, moving to a bigger (empty) unfinished house is always a bit tricky.
Yes to this!! Our house had a bunch of those plug in air fresheners and for some people that might smell like home but they made me a bit sick! We opened all the windows, bought flowers and cooked a meal and it helped immensely ❤️ smell is huge for me!!
I’d add let go of the guilt, and allow yourself to feel homesick. It takes time not to feel like you’re living in someone else’s home… because you essentially are! Took us about a year to get acclimated. That, and dumping all of our time and money into the house! It’s certainly MY house now!
I love your ideas. Thank you!! I just moved into a new home a month ago and still feel like a stranger. I think I will try the art work. My walls are still bare, aside from the holes the previous owners left. Looking at art I was used to seeing in my old home may help!
It took me a long time to bond with my new house for reasons too complicated to list. Even though the ceilings are crazy high and it made all the sense in the world to hire painters, and we did for the first few rooms, in the end I found I NEEDED to paint it myself. I needed my hand to run the paintbrush in all the nook and crannies, I needed to put my physical touch on it, I needed to buy a large ladder and climb to the rafters, viewing the room from all angles. It was my therapy and it helped.
Yes to this! I know exactly what you mean :)
This is a great list and the illustration is so cute! I would add to play music. I think playing music always makes for a homey feel.
I also found that giving the house that first cleaning made it feel more like my own.
We planted a tree as a symbol of putting down roots. We wanted something native to attract birds to help us feel connected to our new land. Interestingly enough it was a nannyberry viburnum and when we read your recommendation to name your home, we came up with 2 choices – Nannyberry Ridge or Bluebird Tudor. We can’t decide!!!! Would you like to weigh in? So happy you have found this house. It will be a joy to watch you make it “home”.
I also love Nannyberry Ridge but mostly came to say I love the idea of planting something! My container garden on my back porch feels most like home. I had to google your tree but it’s beautiful!
Hanging your art where you want it is HUGE. Every wall in our house has to be repaired and we don’t want to add more unnecessary holes, so we’ve been playing the “existing nail game” (where you just throw your art on whatever nails are leftover in the walls already) for almost 2 years now. It’s such a relief when we get a room knocked out and get to a point where you can hang something with intention. It’s only happened for 2.5 out of 12 spaces, but progress, not perfection amirite?
I always find that cleaning my new space with my favorite cleaning products helps me to familiarize myself with my new space, but also creates that familiar “smell” of my home. Otherwise, I get out my favorite throw blanket, and my apple TV set up ASAP (even if temporary) for a way to unwind when not unpacking. :)
The last picture posted in your stories the other day with stone and blue/gray window was so awesome! Hope you do something like that. Love the board and batten but black is too heavy and stark…for shutters too. Soften it up a bit. You guys are great! Love your posts and you!
When I recently got out of a long term relationship and moved out on my own for the first time in my life, I found a lot of pleasure in my nightly tv routine. Watching the same weekly shows I watched with my ex, but on the floor of my new place made me feel like I had some stability and was building something new at the same time.
Oh my gosh, I’m struggling with this so bad. We recently moved cross country and are in a temporary furnished apartment until our stuff catches up with us (10+ days after we expected it to). I can’t wait to be able to implement some of these suggestions!
I agree with your list. I remember purchasing my current home. At first, it doesn’t feel like it’s yours. Once I covered every inch of the house and decided where things were to be placed, then it started feeling like home. The adjustment takes time, but everyday I feel like the home is becoming more me. Good post.
The home doesn’t make you; you make the home.
Set up your sound system and fill your house with your favorite music!
We just moved into a different bedroom in our house because we are having a baby this fall and for some reason I have had such a hard time adjusting to the change. One thing that really is helping is getting the closet organized so I can find everything easily. I am definitely going to try your tips in this post!
I second the ‘hang the art’ bit. That always makes our house feel like home. That and getting the books out.
Snuggle up! First thing in the morning, or at the end of the day. Nothing beats it : )
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